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Stem Cell Therapy Holds Promise for AMD

Two women who were considered legally blind had their vision partly restored after receiving stem cell therapy. One of the women had the dry form of age-related macular degeneration and the other woman had a rare disease that causes vision loss. Both of the women received an injection of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells in one eye. Four months after the treatment, both women were able to count more letters on a visual acuity chart. No side effects or safety issues were reported. While researchers are encouraged by the experiment results, they caution that it was not determined if the improvement in vision was due to the treatment, to the immune-suppressing drugs they were given to prevent rejection of the cells or to a placebo effect. Larger trials will be needed to determine safety and efficacy but the results of this experiment do offer new hope that promise of stem cell treatments will be realized in the near future.*

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